Welcome to the forty-ninth of our Creative Challenges. WriteMovies’ 100-Day Creative Challenge 49 is about themes in writing.
Guidance: For the next 20 minutes, use whatever method you like – thoughts and ideas, mind maps, diagrams or sketches, a sample of script, prose, poetry – as you prepare a creative piece, about:
A ‘life or death’ situation.
- As you work through this task, you might also consider how this activity relates to themes in writing.
- Save or photograph your work as a document called “100DayCC49”. Then reflect on this experience and what it has taught you about you and your writing: what comes naturally to you, which aspects were easy and difficult, and the subjects, angles and attitudes that you like to focus your writing on.
- Share online if you like using the hashtag #100DayCC49 to compare to other people’s experiences and support each other, or submit to our Academy Lite if you’re a subscriber!
When you complete the Challenge – or if you get completely stuck – then look at the Feedback below!
Every successful story taps into a ‘universal theme’ – some aspect of being human that we can all relate to. Themes are the deeper, human issues that lie ‘behind and beneath’ the ‘surface stories’ of your scripts, characters and scenes.
Examples: Love, parenthood, growing up, bravery and cowardice, finding your place in the world, how our identities and choices are defined by where we grow up in the world…
Each of your stories should have a single, universal human theme at their heart. This is how it will reach out to audiences of all backgrounds even if it’s not directly ‘about’ people like them. You can actually explore the same theme many times, from many angles, without running out of momentum. I think Ridley Scott’s films BLADE RUNNER and PROMETHEUS are both science-fiction stories about ‘meeting your maker’ – but they are utterly different stories, in totally different contexts and subgenres.
Our Challenge here sets you the simplest and biggest of all the universal themes: life and death. There’s nothing more universal than that.
General tips and feedback:
Many writers, naturally, don’t find it easy to be creative ‘on tap’ – especially for work that they didn’t set themselves. But to write professionally, you will usually need to meet deadlines and requirements, that can’t be put off, for briefs you didn’t choose for yourself: even if you’re ill or feeling down, you’ll usually have to just find a way through, and get the results that are needed, to the quality that’s necessary. So the WriteMovies Creative Challenges are designed to help you find ways around the crucial issues of ‘block’.
We do this by setting a (deceptively!) simple brief, and encouraging you to use a variety of methods, approaches and creative products in order to find ways around it, and generate some kind of outcomes that might be useful to you in the future. Whatever state your mind and mood are in – energetic or tired, stimulated or bored, motivated or disengaged, etc – there are different ‘modes’ of creative productivity which you can engage, to make the best of it: editing your work if you can’t write, making notes if you can’t generate script, etc. Try a mix of methods to make the most of activities such as the Creative Challenges, especially anytime you get stuck: just keep adding notes, sketches etc freely, you can decide later whether any of them are useful! Also note that the brief is to ‘prepare’ a creative work – not to actually make it straight away, before you feel ready to! But if you’ve come away from this with a passage of prose or script or even poetry, well done!
Hopefully this activity will have shown you the potential value of our Creative Challenges, and the benefits of making a routine to complete them, and persisting with it day by day to gradually improve all aspects of your writing and to develop solutions to ‘block’, that you will become more and more proficient with over time. We recommend that you commit to fulfilling the 100-Day Creative Challenges, sharing your outputs to gain the support and feedback of other writers working on the same activities, and if you’d like expert daily feedback from us on this and much more, additional material, subscribe to the WriteMovies Academy Lite now!